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Ft. Deposit Councilman charged with felony

A Fort Deposit first-term Town Councilman, Elbert Means, has been charged with felony assault on a police officer stemming from an incident that took place on July 4th.

Records on file at the Lowndes County detention facility indicate that on July 4, 2003, Councilman Means allegedly was involved in a dispute concerning a fence line on Gilmer Hill Road in Fort Deposit.

The Fort Deposit Police Department was called to the scene, and during the incident, Means reportedly became disorderly and combative. This combativeness apparently turned toward police officers trying to diffuse the situation, and a scuffle ensued when they tried to arrest Means.

He was in fact arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, both misdemeanor offenses.

One of the officers, Curtis Campbell, was seen on Friday wearing a brace on his right arm, but declined to comment on whether it was related to the incident with Means.

Means was taken to the Lowndes County detention facility, and was booked on the two misdemeanor charges. He was released on the next day with a property bond of $500 for each count.

&uot;I don’t understand how all of this has come about,&uot; Means said during a telephone interview on Friday. &uot;I called the police department to complain about reckless driving on Gilmer Hill Road n some kids had been racing up and down the street, and one of them struck and damaged my father’s fence.&uot;

Means said when the officers arrived, the situation quickly changed to one of his being on the defensive.

&uot;The new police officer, Officer Packer, pushed me in the chest, and told me, ‘Just because you are a town councilman doesn’t mean you can’t be arrested’ n I don’t know where all that came from, but suddenly they were arresting me,&uot; Means said, &uot;And I was the one that called them, on my father’s behalf.&uot;

Fort Deposit Police Chief James Gulley, who was also on the scene during the incident, said on Friday that he could not yet make any statement regarding the case, which is still being investigated by both law enforcement and the Town Council.

He did, however say that he has high regards for Officer Campbell, who has been on the Fort Deposit Police Department for more than five years.

Fort Deposit Mayor Fletcher Fountain said that he would be glad to comment on the case after the town’s attorneys, Richardson and French, in Hayneville, advised what could and could not be released regarding the case.

The Sheriff of Lowndes County, Willie Vaughner, said on Friday that an additional charge has been signed against Means.

&uot;Although he was originally charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest n both misdemeanors -n another charge has come down in a warrant today (Friday) charging Mr. Means with assault in the second degree on a police officer n this is a Class C Felony,&uot; Vaughner said. &uot;We have contacted Mr. Means and told him to come turn himself in on the charge today.&uot;

All parties concerned indicated on Friday that there would be an executive session of the Fort Deposit Town Council on Friday evening, to discuss the case with the council, attorneys and all those involved.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Fort Deposit Town Council is Monday, July 14, at 5:45 p.m. at Town Hall.